When Manchester United made official their decision to end their 29 year association with Ryan Giggs, amid the obvious proportion of sadness, one might sense a tinge of regret from some Red Devils supporters.Originally earmarked to take over after Louis Van Gaal’s reign would have ended, the manner in which things have panned out would have not left anyone surprised. The last string that attached Manchester United to Sir Alex Ferguson’s legacy, his departure may have left an emotional void among the fans but one which in short-term had grown to be a necessity.
Ryan Giggs: Legend, Leader and a Red Devil like no other
963 Games , 35 titles and a career impossible to replicate
Right from his stunning strike against Arsenal in the FA cup semifinal 1999 to his cool assist to Michael Owen’s winning goal against Manchester City in 2009 in the premier league, Ryan Giggs was Ferguson’s go-to man in need of a goal or any crisis. One has to only look his performance in the 4-2 demolition of West Ham in 2011. Playing in the role of a left back, he shone in the unfamiliar role to guide his team to all three points.If it was his invaluable goals at crucial junctures that bailed the Red Devils out, one has to look at his 4 games he managed after David Moyes’ sacking to see his commitment to the team he so dearly loved. As a player, it’s hard to envisage how the fortunes would have been had he walked away as a player but as a manager, not many had backed him to take over once Van Gaal was shown the door. Once Mourinho became available, it was the “Special One” that was heavily favoured by Board and fans alike instead of the club legend
Van Gaal and the cost of missing out on managing Manchester United
First under David Moyes and then under Van Gaal, as the Red Devils climbed down the ladder from Challengers to the league crown to chasing for the lucrative fourth spot to participate in Champions league, Ryan Giggs bore the brunt of his superiors’ failures.Many felt he cheated them by maintaining stoic silence as Van Gaal’s ‘Philosophy’ yielded in one draws after another. Even the wins were achieved via stroke of luck rather than their attacks. The sterile playing style coupled with Van Gaal’s defiance to bow the public pressure not only eroded the confidence of the fans not only in Ed Woodward but also in Giggs himself. But to expect anything other than what he did would be grossly unfair. As an assistant manager, his job was protecting the ones above him and looking after the players. And that he did. Against Arsenal, when he confided in Van Gaal about the players looking “a little off” prior to kick-off, he had predicted the result before the whistle had been blown. One can empathise with Giggs’ feeling of being hard done by as those in charge handed the reins over to Mourinho, but one can understand their sentiments behind such a move. After three years of underwhelming challenge, supporters and Board were fearing to end up like Liverpool. And Giggs’ inexperience only added fuel to the fire. Whereas Mourinho guaranteed trophies and winning mentality, Giggs was the local hero and one who held the beliefs of Ferguson closer than anybody else. As powerful as the Scot may have ben as the manager, his influence, his influence doesn’t amount to much these days.
Steve Bruce, Mark Hughes or the next Guardiola, Zidane?
There is a fear expressed by many former players prior to the announcement of his departure that he may never return to Old Trafford again. After all, club heroes like Steve Bruce and Mark Hughes never managed to lead top tier clubs once their glorious playing careers came to an end. There is a school of thought that thinks Giggs too, may never return to Old trafford no matter how much success he achieves with a small club. However, if one thing that has been evident in the Welshman’s career, it’s his determination to succeed and conform to the very high standards he had set for himself.You don’t end up playing till Forty in a league as demanding ass the English premier league. Also, being personally involved with Ferguson in his managing days, he is thought to have a much better understanding of what it takes to run a football club of the size of Manchester United.
And that is the reason why to expect him to return to his old stomping ground and build a legacy like Guardiola’s at Camp Nou isn’t a thought far-fetched. One way or the other, these are interesting times for Ryan Giggs